How Cars Are Professionally Detailed and Deep Cleaned

  • AMMO NYC is a car detailing service that makes car cleaning products
  • Owner Larry Kosilla, share's his technique for cleaning a Subaru Forester infested with mice and covered in mildew
  • His process goes beyond cleaning to include the restoration of the headlights, buffing the paint, and fixing issues that caused a moisture leak
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Larry Kosilla: Hey, I'm Larry Kosilla from AmmoNYC.com. We manufacture car-cleaning supplies. Today, I'm gonna show you the step-by-step process for cleaning one of the most disgusting cars I've ever worked on.

Right off the bat, I'm saying there's a water leak somewhere. There's obviously mice. This particular case, it smelled so bad. There's urine from mice in there. This is kind of the next level, where you're cleaning it just to make it so that you can safely operate the vehicle.

On cases like this, when there's lots of mold, lots of junk, I increase the water temperature as much as the power washer can handle, and that'll increase the cleaning ability. When you hit it with water, it's gonna indicate where there might be a leak. There's seals, what they call rails or rain guards or rain rails. If those get packed or compacted with, you can see in the door jams, muck and gunk and grime and leaves, it actually backs up and overflows and then flows into the vehicle. The debris in the door jams were 100% the cause for the water. Basically the water pools on the bottom, underneath the carpet. I use a tiny little brush to kinda get in there. The idea is to lift a lot of the door seals and get underneath the door seals, because if they're not perfectly flush, again, that whole rain issue as the door closes. And if there's leaves and junk in there, it just won't seal properly.

So, in terms of buffing or restoring the paint, this mission was to use a microfiber cutting pad. I used a compound. And what that microfiber pad does is it kind of tickles the surface of the paint, so to speak. And it removes a lot of the stuff that just didn't come out with a wash. And if it's embedded in the pores of the paint, just like a blackhead, so to speak, I have to go in there and just remove all of that, exfoliate it. As the vibration, or what we call oscillation of the machine, "zzz," as it's buzzing, it's actually vibrating a lot of the dirt that's behind the headlights and the taillights and all these little pieces. So, in this case, I washed the car for a second time after I buffed it, then, afterwards, you wanna protect it again. So, in this case, we use a product called AMMO Reflex Pro, which is a type of coating. It's an antimicrobial, which is perfect for this car, because obviously there's mold and bacteria all over the place.

When it comes to headlights, as the sun is penetrating the headlight, it's just chewing up all the UV protection it has. And over time, it sort of just decays, right? It becomes dead skin on top. So what we need to do is remove that dead skin. Then you can go in just like the paint, with a microfiber cutting pad, an abrasive, like a compound, use your pad, polish it up. And you can see within a minute or two, it'll rejuvenate that. Now you have to put the suntan lotion on. And in this case, you wanna re-clear-coat it.

With respect to windows, the best way that I've found over the years, and this is an evolving process, is, first, use a little bit of window cleaner. You spray it down. First thing is use a scrub pad. That scrub pad is gonna lift a lot of the oils and junk that are stuck to the glass over time. And so as you do that, it's still gonna be wet and kinda gross. You take what we call towel No. 1, and you scoop up all of that oily residue. It's not gonna look pretty at this point, and that's totally fine. So, once it's kind of dry, then you go back in, lubricate again with a glass cleaner, and then use a squeegee, working top to bottom for obvious reasons. And then you go in with a separate towel called No. 2 towel, and you can wipe it down. And sometimes they call them glass towels. Then you can really go in and buff the edges. So it's this constant running after smears.

When we're vacuuming the inside of a car, first thing you wanna look at is the size of the debris that you're trying to vacuum up. And then first thing is sort of vacuum up the big parts. Then I put in what's called a crevice tool. A crevice tool sort of looks like your hand. It's very narrow. You remove a lot more debris that way, because the orifice is much smaller, thus the lifting power is much better. With respect to shampooing, you can use a scrub, a red-handle scrub brush, they're $2 or whatever. They're everywhere. In this case, we used AMMO Shag, which is a cleaner just for fibers, carpets, Alcantara, seats, that kinda thing. And then the goal is to agitate the junk to the surface and then wet vac it out. I thought I had already sucked up a lot of the poo and all that stuff, but as I was shampooing, you could actually see little bits of mouse poo in the shampoo machine, which is insane. That means mouse poo was not only on top of the surface, but underneath. So, when you remove certain parts of the vehicle, like carpets or the rear trunks, you can pull that out and shampoo it. That's way better, because there's just compressed water shooting out all the junk. It's way better than just sitting there and going back and forth. But it makes sense, you can't do that to, let's say, the carpets underneath the seats, you're not gonna do that.

OK, so to clean the interior, we use a couple of different tools. We use AMMO Lather. That is designed for plastic, leather, and vinyl. And then we use an interior scrub brush. It's really good for buttons and things. And then we use a scrub pad. Now, the scrub pad basically takes that top layer of junk off before you come in with a microfiber towel. Then, once you're all done in your scrubbing, 'cause what you're doing is you're agitating the dirt, it comes to the surface, what we call a lather, and then you scoop away that junk. Once everything is done, you take compressed air, blow them out, and as the lather sort of squeaks out from underneath and the sides, just scoop it up with a microfiber towel. Let it dry, assess the situation, then you can go back in any spots you've missed.

The separation between a regular detail and an amazing detail is usually the last, like, 3, 4, 5%. So, you have silver from the car, and then you have this kind of faded, whitish, gross material or trim, you wanna brighten that up. So, I took the pad and applied mud. And, again, it's to draw this contrast.

Even if you're not a car person, even if you're not excited about washing your car, there is a level of cleanliness that actually translates into dollars, into saving your investment in this case. You have to keep those seals clean at the very minimum, especially if you park outside.

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